An open letter of gratitude.
Lying in bed, fast asleep late Friday night I hear a man’s voice in our Crown Heights apartment.
Drifting between sleep and consciousness I think I’m dreaming.
I’m hoping I’m dreaming.
It’s just my wife, our kids and me, or so I thought.
But the voice grew stronger, waking me up.
I get up and quietly and walk towards the noise.
Suddenly I hear him again.
“Bentzion, Bentzion?” The unexpected voice didn’t sound threatening at all.
“Bentzion, your son?” Hearing my son being mentioned, whatever fear I might have had dispersed and I walked to the front door which was wide open.
“Elisha, your son was outside by the street.” The man informs me. He was standing there with my landlord who was in his pajamas.
“What do you mean?” I ask him dumbfounded, “Our 2 year-old son is sleeping.”
“Bentzion, your son was outside on the street. He must’ve opened the doors and gotten out.”
I’m completely stunned. “Is he OK? Where is he?” I ask, timid of an answer.
“Your son is fine, he is in your apartment already.” The nice man reassures me.
At that moment I look for my son and see him walking with a bottle as if nothing happened in the hallway.
Our baby is fine! Thank you Hashem.
“How did you find him? What time is it?” I ask, shocked, shaken and physically shaking.
“I’m from Shomrim. I was on my patrol and I saw your son by the street on the sidewalk at approx. 4 in the morning. It’s after 4am now,” he tells me with an expressive face.
My glance drops to the walkie-talkie hanging off his belt. I had no idea anybody was protecting the neighborhood at such late hours in general and on Shabbos in particular. I’m taken aback.
“You might want to double lock your doors from now on,” he warns me.
“Your 2 year-old opened all the doors to the outside, Be very careful.”
“Good Shabbos,” he tells me as he goes back outside to continue his patrol.
“Thank you so much. Good Shabbos,” I tell both the Shomer and my landlord who kindly opened the door which is locked to the outside, for my son and the man from Shomrim.
After they left, both my wife and I just couldn’t stop kissing our beloved little baby boy, afraid to entertain any thought whatsoever as to what could’ve been, G-d forbid, in the dark street.
We place him on the bed and hug him nonstop.
“We love you.” We tell him again and again.
We are utterly unnerved.
My heart is pounding.
As he falls asleep safe in his bed we talk about this bizarre circumstance.
“How could this have happened? How could he open all three doors to the outside,” I wondered.
“He was looking for me,” my wife stated simply. “Around this time of night he always wakes up and comes to my bed. Tonight I fell asleep in the girls room and since he didn’t see me in my bed, he went searching for me.”
“That doesn’t make sense. Why would he open the doors and go outside?” I asked.
“Well it kind of happened before. One time I left him in front of the computer to watch a DVD while I went downstairs to get the girls from the school bus. I left the door open just a crack in case he wanted to come down. I guess he got sick of the video and he walked down and saw us just as the girls came from the bus. I opened the door for him downstairs so that he could be outside with us. He probably thought we were downstairs just like last time, however, I had no idea he was capable of opening doors like these. If I learned one lesson from this is to never underestimate what a child can do, even a toddler!”
As I was contemplating my wife’s theory she continued incredulously..
“It’s so bizarre, just a couple of days ago I a friend of mine was telling me that she made a certain mistake with her kids supervision and now she looks at her kids with a whole new level of appreciation and sees Hashems Hashgach in a revealed way like never before. That friend told that a toddler of a friend of hers crossed Eastern Parkway by themselves by mistake and I immediately judged the mother thinking how could a mother let such a thing happen, and here it just happened to me!”
“I had no idea that someone is patrolling Crown Heights at 4 AM. Isn’t that completely incredible?!” I ask my wife. “What an amazing Hashgacha Pratis!” I declare. “From the entire area in Crown Heights, which is pretty big, for this Shomrim member to just happen to walk by our son and literally saving him is very extraordinary.”
The whole Shabbos we couldn’t stop kissing our son and were extremely appreciative of this special miracle that happened to us.
We are infinitely grateful of the incredible protection that Hashem send us in the form of an angel from Shomrim, who selflessly was strolling in the wee hours of Shabbos night while the majority of Crown Heights were fast asleep (except for our 2 year-old son!)
Thank you Hashem. Thank you Shomrim. Thank you Yossi Fraenkel (The musician, JewishSinger.com) the angel that saved our son.
Rabbi Bentzion E.and Family